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About CIELAP: Impacts

For almost 40 years CIELAP has maintained itself as one of few Canadian organizations that has the resources and capabilities to conduct independent and balanced environmental research and policy analysis. Here are some of our achievements over the years:

Informing the Policy Debate
Proposed legislative amendments were made to the Mining Act in Ontario by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM). The revised Act addressed key recommendations made by CIELAP and Ecojustice in our 2008 report Balancing Needs Minimizing Conflicts – A Proposal for a Mining Modernization Act, 2008, particularly around introducing permitting and some measures towards improved land use planning mechanisms in the Far North. (2009)

Our 2000 study The 'New Public Management' Comes to Ontario: A study of Ontario's Technical Standards and Safety Authority and the impacts of putting public safety in private hands informed the government’s proposed amendments to the Ontario Technical Standards and Safety Act (TSSA). The auditor general now has access to TSSA’s records and the authority to conduct audits. (2009)

The Canadian government passed the Federal Sustainable Development Act (FDSA) that requires the implementation of federal sustainable development strategies. This supports the recommendations that we had made in our 2001 report Sustainable Development in Canada: A New Federal Plan and its 2005 update. (2008)

Our analysis in There Is No "Away" - Pharmaceuticals, Personal Care Products, and Endocrine-Disrupting Substances: Emerging Contaminants Detected in Water informed the Ontario Ministry of the Environment’s decision to designate pharmaceuticals as a Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste under the Waste Diversion Act. (2006)

Our discussion papers and multi-stakeholder workshops on the emerging area of nanotechnology informed Federal action on this issue. Environment Canada has moved forward on regulating nanomaterials under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) and Health Canada has pursued the development of a draft Framework for Products of Nanotechnology. (2007 & 2008)

Our submission to the External Advisory Committee for Smart Regulations encouraged the Federal Government to move forward on food safety issues around agricultural biotechnology. The Government of Canada developed a Smart Regulation implementation strategy to protect the health and safety of citizens and now publishes a report twice a year updating Canadians on the implementation of Smart Regulations. (2004)

Our efforts to support the development of strong environmental law and policy in Ontario were rewarded when the government of Ontario prioritized citizens’ environmental rights by enacting the Environmental Bill of Rights (EBR). This bill provides Ontario citizens with rights to participate in environmental decision-making. The purpose of the EBR is to conserve, restore, and protect the right to a healthy environment. (1993) The Ontario government made regulatory changes to waste treatment standards at landfills. These changes addressed many of the concerns we had brought to light in our multiple hazardous waste reports about Ontario’s lax hazardous waste laws. (2002)

Collaborating to Build a Sustainable Future

We collaborated internationally with Ambio Foundation in Costa Rica to support the development of strong policy relating to biotechnology and waste management and we contributed to the establishment of the Centre for Environmental Rights in the Western Cape region of South Africa. (2005)

CIELAP held four successful workshops on cross-sector partnerships for sustainability. These workshops contributed to and responded to the global recognition that collaborative efforts are needed between sectors if sustainable development is to be achieved. (2002,2004,2005,2008)

Increasing Public Knowledge and Connecting to the Community
Our informative website and publications portal provide resources to individuals, community groups, businesses, and governments. In 2007-2008 users downloaded over 35,000 publications free of charge.

We supported environmental literacy and encouraged community involvement in local environmental issues through our Citizen’s Guides on pollution prevention, hazardous waste, and biotechnology. Also included are numerous factsheets on hazardous waste, nanotechnology, biotechnology and the Great Lakes. Environment Canada and other sites have links to these publications on their websites. (2000-2008)

We worked with the National film board of Canada (NFB) to launch Green Screens, an interactive screening series that partners NFB films with panel discussions about the policy implications of themes raised in the films. Screenings have included The Fight for True Farming, Manufactured Landscapes, and The Great Adventure. (2007-2009)

We teamed up with CELA and Environmental Defence to launch pollutionwatch.org. This popular site provides information about neighbouring facilities that release pollutants and greenhouse gases into our cities, towns, and communities. (2001)

We published three editions of Environment on Trial: A Citizen’s Guide to Ontario Environmental Law. This practical guide was written to help ordinary citizens take action to protect the environment. It became a leading text on environmental law and policy in Ontario and has sold over 8,000 copies to audiences that include academics, engineers, business practitioners, students, lawyers, and community members. (1974, 1978, 1993).

We developed the Canadian Environmental Law Reports. These reports are currently distributed by publisher Carswell, and feature environmental law decisions made by top experts in the field across Canada.

We were awarded Heritage Canada’s communication award for contributing to the promotion and preservation of Heritage in Canada. (1978)

Access more information about CIELAP's history, download a Historical Timeline or download a heartwarming memoir of CIELAP @ 30.